Jewish identity is fluid, writes Yaacov Yagdar. It went from being public, political and communal in ancient days to a private matter of religious belief during the Enlightenment to being based entirely today on a commitment to the Jewish people and their nation-state Israel. The last is a perversion of the modern state and an offense to traditional Judaism in its treatment of its non-Jewish citizens.
Monthly Archives: January 2018
Israeli forces killed Ahmad Ismail Jarrar, 31, during a raid Thursday on the occupied Jenin refugee camp as a reprisal for a settler’s killing last week. But Palestinian sources said the man’s cousin, Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, escaped the attack; and he had been accused of killing the settler.
Why did Rawan Yaghi not see her family in Gaza for four years as she studied at Oxford? Why did she miss her brother’s wedding? Because of Israeli borders that turn Palestinian territories into prisons. “Qalandia checkpoint looks like a slaughterhouse. As soon as the bus moved, I could then see the wall, the massive wall that now stood between me and my sister. The grey force pressed down on my chest and I burst into tears. I haven’t seen my sister since then,” she writes.
As thousands of women, and men, dust off their pink pussy hats ahead of this weekend’s anniversary Women’s March, Nada Elia says we are seeing many of the divisions that riddled last year’s rallies surface again. Thankfully, she says, we are also witnessing the emergence of a solid alternative to the shortcomings of imperial feminism. Elia writes, “Palestinian women and our allies have long pointed out the erasure of our oppression from mainstream feminist discourse. Hopefully 2018, and the grassroots insistence that Palestine must be included in intersectional struggles for justice, will put an end to that.”
In July 2017 10-year-old Francesca Filippone traveled to Gaza with her mother to serve as an International Student Ambassador in the UNRWA Gaza Summer Fun Weeks program in refugee camps throughout Gaza. Her mother writes, “I hope that someday my child looks back on her trip to Gaza with pride, gratitude and a sense of fellowship. I hope that maybe she’ll even feel as I do: blessed to know Gaza.”
The money the US gives to UNRWA is not ‘aid.’ It is an infinitesimal downpayment on restitution owed Palestinians. The US remains Israel’s principal benefactor, and underwriter of Israel’s anti-Palestinian terror. US “aid” to Israel enables it to keep five million once-productive people destitute, leading lost lives in the squalor of scattered refugee camps, because they are the wrong ethnicity.
The well-being of millions of Palestinian refugees is now being used as a weapon in the Trump administration’s political assault on Palestinians. Reduced U.S. funding to UNRWA, the U.N. agency responsible for offering services to Palestinian refugees, will result in direct cuts to education, healthcare, social services, infrastructure, microfinance, and emergency assistance. Mohamed Mohamed says, “It is no exaggeration to say that without these services, I might not be alive today.”
A theme of a New York Times article on the nomination of Kenneth Marcus to be civil rights director in the Education Department is that the BDS movement against Israel pits “Jews” on the nation’s campuses against “students of color.” But there are many Jews who support BDS, who are invisible here; while Zionism is conflated with Judaism.
Archives of Israel’s leftleaning Labor Party in the years after the country’s creation reveal that David Ben-Gurion and other leaders vacillated between relating to Palestinian citizens as dogs or as donkeys. Moshe Dayan looked forward to the opportunity of expelling the remaining 170,000 Palestinians, and Ben-Gurion said if differences between the people were eliminated, “the Jewish people” would be eradicated.
Approximately 3,500 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip depend on fishing to make a living, supporting families of often eight or more people each. Many risk their lives and their boats every time they sail out any distance, due to almost daily attacks by the Israeli navy—with the most recent one on Jan. 9, when five Gaza fishermen were detained and their two boats confiscated. A team from We Are Not Numbers goes out on a night-time fishing run to experience first-hand both the joys and the risks of the profession.
A new documentary on the conflict, In the Land of Pomegranates, suggests that Israelis and Palestinians only need to understand the other’s narratives of victimization to overcome their differences and get along. But its portraits of young Palestinians and Israelis scarred by violence shows that only outside pressure and structural political change will allow the two peoples to get along, and the film’s politics are meaningless.
In a sign that the United States is ratcheting up pressure on Palestinian leadership, the Trump administration sent notice to the United Nations Refugee Works Agency (UNRWA) that it is withholding over half of this year’s annual commitment, paying $60 million and freezing another $65 million. The move indicates the U.S. is leveraging its financial support to pressure Palestinian officials into acquiescing to its vision for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Palestinian-American business owner Amer Othman al Adi has been in the country nearly 40 years. Today the 57-year-old sits in the Geauga County jail awaiting deportation — the first time Adi has seen the inside of a jail cell, and a shock to his congressman and wife and family, who had been cooperating with immigration authorities.
An Israeli military court ruled today to keep 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi and her mother Nariman in prison until the end of their trial. “I expect the worst from the occupation,” Ahed’s father Bassem told Mondoweiss. “This is life under occupation. I think we represent and show the real suffering of Palestinians under occupation. This is the real image.”
Ahed Tamimi, 16, has been held in an Israeli prison for nearly a month since her arrest last December 19 for slapping a soldier. Today a military court in Ofer prison inside occupied territory extended her detention indefinitely, till she is tried.
Marilyn Garson reviews Norman Finkelstein’s new book ‘Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom’: “Finkelstein has set out to deconstruct the false narrative of war in Gaza, by refuting its component parts. One by one. Finkelstein is an author, activist and scholar with decades of archives and outrage to bring. ‘Gaza’ is one exhaustive act of witness.”
Sarah Helm in the New York Review of Books joins David Halbfinger and Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times by honestly reporting on the discussion of one state with equal rights as an alternative to Israel’s neverending segregationist occupation. These pieces could initiate a real discussion of one state among US elites and put pressure on Israel at last to end apartheid.
‘Why is it so important for indigenous people to maintain their identity? What is so bad with a particular way of life or culture disappearing?’ the lecturer at Macquairie University in Sydney asked 25 years ago. Now his student, Avigail Abarbanel, has the answer: Because colonialism entails a violent “policy of elimination” to overcome resistance.
Munther Amira, a highly respected activist in the West Bank, was arrested on December 27 during a nonviolent protest and Israel has brought 12 charges against him, including throwing stones and organizing unpermitted marches. “It’s important to note that Israeli military courts have over a 99% conviction rate, and in Munther’s case, I think there is a clear political motivation here,” Jonathan Pollak, a member of Amira’s legal team, tells Mondoweiss, “it’s obvious that Munther’s political activism is not tolerated by the Israeli regime.”
On Monday the Central Council of the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, officially announced its support for the BDS movement and called, for the first time, on the international community to “impose sanctions on Israel” to end its ongoing, grave violations of Palestinian rights as stipulated by international law. This marks the most explicit and official adoption of the BDS movement by the PLO.
The Trump administration informed the United Nations yesterday it would cut aid for Palestinian refugees by more than half, withholding $65 million in funds. For Mariam Oraif, 74, and many other Palestinians who depend on UNRWA health services the cuts could be a matter of life or death. When asked what she will do if UNRWA is no longer able to provide her with insulin and her weekly treatment, Oraif said of Trump, “He wants to kill us.”
In a fiery two-hour speech on Sunday where Mahmoud Abbas unloaded on the Trump administration, Israel and Arab partners, the Palestinian president confirmed a report published more than a month ago about back channel peace talks where the U.S. pitched, along with Saudi Arabia, Palestinians should accept the West Bank town of Abu Dis as its future capital. “The deal of the century is the slap of the century,” Abbas said of the Trump administration.
Ma’an News reports the Israeli army declared the central occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh — home to imprisoned teenage activist Ahed al-Tamimi — a closed military zone on Saturday, closing off all entrances and exits.
If you think Trump’s “shithole countries” statement is bad, consider that such statements are routine in Israel, whose leaders have likened Palestinians to “cancer” and snakes and cockroaches, said that disloyal Palestinians should be decapitated with an “axe” or drowned, and have actually had a Muslim ban since the country was established.
Moshé Machover, a British-Israeli activist and member of the UK’s Labour Party, has prepared the following testimony in defense of Labour activist and co-founder of Britain’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign Tony Greenstein who will undergo a disciplinary hearing on January 25, 2018 over accusations of alleged anti-Semitic comments made online.